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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Free After 3 parking announced for town


*Llangollen's Market Street car park which is part of the Free After 3 initiative.
Denbighshire County Council is reminding residents and visitors that the "Free After 3" parking scheme is operating in the county to help support town centres and to encourage local shopping.in the run-up to Christmas.
The scheme provides free parking in all council operated pay & display car parks in town centres after 3pm on a daily basis until December 31. 
Amongst car parks included in the initiative are:
Llangollen 
East Street
Hall Street 
Market Street
Mill Street 
Corwen
Green Lane 

RuthinCrispin Yard (Cae Ddol)
Dog Lane
Market Street
Park Road
Rhos Street
St Peter's Square
Troed y Rhiw

Councillor David Smith, Cabinet Lead Member for Environment, said: “We are delighted to be offering free parking across Denbighshire after 3pm again this year. 
“We feel this is a good way of encouraging people to support the town centres and to access the wide variety of goods and services available from our local businesses."
This initiative coincides with the Small Business Saturday initiative across the county where the council is urging people to support their local businesses and services on December 3 and in the run-up to Christmas.
Denbighshire County Council is also helping support local businesses through its shop local campaign, #LoveLiveLocal which encourages people to share positive experiences of Denbighshire as a fantastic place to shop on social media and a Christmas video which will showcase what the county has to offer shoppers over the festive period. 

MP calls for tougher sentencing of rogue drivers

Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones will lead a debate in Parliament today (Wednesday) on the subject of road safety and the Government's proposed sentencing review.
Ms Jones (pictured), who received road safety charity Brake's award of 2015 Parliamentarian of the Year for her campaigning work, previously introduced a bill to Parliament calling for higher penalties for drivers who drive unlicensed or uninsured.
This year, she tabled a series of questions to the Government on the issue on the week Theresa May became Prime Minister.
Ms Jones said: "I met recently with the Transport Minister and over the summer I tabled a number of questions to Government Ministers.
"I finally got a commitment that the Government would announce a proper consultation on sentencing for road traffic offences by the end of the year.
"I am not giving up because every delay to this campaign is a slight to justice and an insult to the families of those innocent victims who die on our roads.
"There is a lot of support for fairer laws that will help secure justice and make our roads safer."

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The train now arriving ...


* 6880 Betton Grange aboard a low loader is inched into the entrance to the railway works in Abbey Road. 

Traffic on Abbey Road was temporarily halted yesterday (Monday) afternoon to allow a prestigious steam engine to be shoehorned into Llangollen railway workshops. 

Last weekend 6880 Betton Grange had been one of the stars at the world’s biggest model railway exhibition, the Warley MRC event at Birmingham’s NEC, and was being returned to its home base. 

This was the first time the loco had appeared in public.

The Betton Grange Society's working parties had lovingly prepared 6880 for display at Warley, assembling all of the motion parts to finish the bottom end of the engine.

The boiler from ex-GWR loco No. 5952, Cogan Hall, was mounted on the frames for the display period.

This will allow the society to set out the pipe runs needed when No. 7927 Willington Hall’s boiler is finally refurbished for use on the completed engine.

The transfer of the boiler from Cogan Hall on to Betton Grange was handled by volunteers led by chief engineer Chris Moore.

The society has announced that TV presenter Mark Evans has agreed to be their first ambassador.

Mark has delivered a number of programmes on Channel 4 and Discovery including An MG is Born, A Race Car is Born and A Plane is Born.

He joined the society at Llangollen in October and received a warm welcome from the 6880 directors who explained all aspects of the project to him.

Ideas flowed as to how Mark could help members achieve their ambition of finishing 6880 within the next two years.

* Llangollen Railway's Winter Warmer gala weekend will be held on December 30 and 31.

It will feature an intensive timetable, authentic cameos and a real ale bar.

Services will be in operation between Llangollen and Carrog (the temporary platform at Corwen East being closed over the winter period as part of the new Corwen Central station works) and will feature a combination of steam, diesel and DMU traction.

Discounted advance fares are available through the railway's website: http://www.llangollen-railway.co.uk/event/, with an adult day rover being just £16 (£18 on the day) and just £9 for children. Senior and family discounts are also available.

   

Further developments on Vicarage Road plan

The developer aiming to build new homes on the Vicarage Road site in Llangollen has now put forward a number of amendments to the original scheme which sparked a storm of protest from opponents in the area when it was first announced.

Earlier this year Castlemead Homes submitted an application to Denbighshire County Council for a development of 99 dwellings comprising a mixture of two, three and four bedroom detached and semi-detached properties.

But people in the area argued strongly that local roads would not be able to cope with the extra traffic these would generate both during construction and when the new homes were occupied.

Now, with the application expected to go before the planning committee next month, the developers say there would be fewer homes than originally suggested – 95 instead of 99 – and that if the scheme is given the go-ahead they are prepared to build the access road before any homes are constructed.

Its representative also says there would be cash contributions for extra primary school provision in the area and also for improved open space.
These revelations come in a letter from planning consultants acting on behalf of Castlemead Homes to council chiefs, a copy of which has been sent to a member of the local group campaigning against the scheme.

The letter says: “You have asked me for a resume of our proposals following our various discussions over the past few weeks. 
“For the avoidance of doubt, the proposal is now for 95 dwellings, plots 96 – 99 have been deleted from the proposals (although these benefit from a separate permission).

“So far as other matters are concerned, in the event that you resolve to grant permission, then our clients would be prepared to commit to the following: 
“Highways: We propose to construct the new road access prior to the construction of any dwellings.

“The following matters would be covered in a Section106 Agreement: 
“Education – An education contribution of £172,800, relating to the expansion of primary school capacity in Llangollen, by means of either a contribution to a new build school or extension(s) to existing facilities. The contribution to be made prior to the occupation of the 51st dwelling.  

“Open Space - Commuted sum of £1,818.28 payable prior to the occupation of the first dwelling in the development, to be spent on the improvement or provision of open space facilities in Llangollen 
“Affordable Housing - Four dwellings provided on-site for (plots 7, 8, 50, 51), together with a financial contribution of £47,074.50 in relation to the residual requirement of an additional half a dwelling.”

County officers say they are anticipating that the application will be presented to the planning committee on December 14.

Planning permission to build 54 houses on land adjacent to Vicarage Road was granted to Castlemead on appeal by Denbighshire back in 2001.

Attached to the original application was a Section 106 agreement under which the developer was legally bound to build a new access road to the site before the scheme was started.

The field above the main site has since been included in the Local Development Plan at the request of the Planning Inspectorate to encourage the building of more houses to meet local demand.

Castlemead’s latest application, submitted earlier this year, had been to build a further 45 homes, making a total of 99 houses, on four parcels of land.

Monday, November 28, 2016

County stresses importance of responsible dog owners

Denbighshire County Council is reiterating its message for dog owners to clean up after their animals.

The latest warning follows an incident where a child playing rugby on Cae Ddol fields in Ruthin managed to get dog mess on their gum guard, which could have had serious consequences for the child’s health.

Councillor David Smith, Cabinet Lead Member for Environment, said: “ I am disgusted and disappointed by this lack of concern by certain dog  owners disregarding all the messages regarding the consequences of dog fouling on the health of our children. 

“The council has been running a campaign, educating and encouraging people to clean up after their animals. The majority of people do act responsibly and carry bags with them.

“However, there are some individuals who think it’s appropriate not to clear the mess.

“Dog mess is a blight on the landscape and is one of the key issues of concern raised by residents. There is also risk to people’s health and well-being and there are examples nationally of people losing or partly losing their sight after coming into direct contact with dog mess.

“Luckily in the Ruthin incident, the child did not suffer any reactions or lasting effects but it still would have been a very unpleasant experience for her and her family and the consequences could have been serious.

“We would urge everyone to be responsible and clean up after their animals."

* To report any problems with dog fouling, please visit: http://www.denbighshire.gov.uk/dogfouling or phone 01824 706101.

Housing plan could be decided next month



* The Vicarage Road site.

A controversial scheme to build 99 homes on land at Vicarage Road in Llangollen is likely to be decided next month, according to a senior county planner.

Earlier this year Castlemead Homes submitted an application to Denbighshire County Council for the development, which includes a mixture of two, three and four bedroom detached and semi-detached properties.

But the scheme has sparked fears amongst people in the area that local roads will not be able to cope with the extra traffic it will generate both during construction and when the new homes are occupied.

The scheme has attracted considerable opposition and members of the group campaigning against it have submitted evidence to the council which they say shows the kind of traffic problems it would create on roads leading to the site from the town centre.

One of the opponents has just received notification from senior planning official Paul Mead which says: “The LPA (Local Planning Authority) has received some final amended plans and documents this week from the applicant.

“These plans and documents are being checked and will be placed on our website as soon as possible.

“We will be carrying out a re-consultation exercise on these plans and documents and so, if you have previously made any formal representations on material planning issues, you will no doubt be informed by letter/e-mail of the opportunity to make further representations.

“Officers are anticipating that the application could then be presented to our Planning Committee on 14th December 2016. Any representations you have made on material planning issues will be summarised for Members of that Committee.”

Planning permission to build 54 houses on land adjacent to Vicarage Road was granted to Castlemead on appeal by Denbighshire back in 2001.

Attached to the original application was a Section 106 agreement under which the developer was legally bound to build a new access road to the site before the scheme was started.

The field above the main site has since been included in the Local Development Plan at the request of the Planning Inspectorate to encourage the building of more houses to meet local demand.

Castlemead’s latest application has been to build a further 45 homes, making a total of 99 houses on four parcels of land.

As part of the formal consultation process, the town council has been able to give its official response to the application although a decision on it rests with the county council.   

At their May meeting all seven members of the town’s planning committee voted to object to the proposal. 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Llan is filled with Christmas Festival fun


* The firework display which rounded off the festival after the lights were switched on. 


* The head boy and girl from Ysgol Dinas Bran switched on the Christmas lights.


Hundreds braved the cold today (Saturday) to make an early start to the festive season by flocking to  Llangollen's Christmas Festival.

The annual event kicked off in style with the traditional parade headed by Santa who was driven to the Town Hall in his sleigh to take up residence in his grotto where he was visited by scores of excited youngsters wanting to share their Christmas lists with him.

There was a full programme of entertainment out on the Town Hall steps and in nearby Market Street, including a display by the Clerical Error morris dancers, a Punch and Judy show and music from solo performers and St Collen's choir and orchestra.  

Proceeds from the event will be shared between Wales Air Ambulance and the fund to put on next year's festival.    

Llanblogger has been out and about recording the day's fun which ended with the switching on of the town lights and a big firework display.

 
* A dazzling fire display came at the end of the festival. 


* Santa leads the big Christmas parade.


* St Collen's choir and orchestra perform on the Town Hall steps.  


* Visitors browse around the Christmas fair inside the Town Hall. 


* A guitarist belts out seasonal songs.

* All the fun of the fair in Market Street.


* Leonie Kirby sings Christmas songs in Market Street.


* A vintage tractor joins the opening parade.


* More tractor action on the bridge.


* A sleighful of youngsters head into town.


* Members of the National Elf Service greet the crowds on the bridge. 


* The Clerical Error morris dancers make their way into town.


* Llangollen Silver band sets the pace for the parade.


* A vintage car from the Motor Museum was a crowd pleaser.


* Town Crier Chem rings his bell aboard a parade float.


* Santa' little helpers Phil Meyers and Graham Platt.














Christmas in Llangollen starts today



Santa is raring to go at Llangollen Christmas Festival which takes place today.

The annual event starts with the traditional parade through town at 1pm and you can see Sion Corn in his sleigh and then visit him in his grotto.

There will be events and entertainment in and around the town until the Christmas lights are switched at 5pm followed by fireworks.

















Friday, November 25, 2016

New Dot plans Christmas film with a difference


* Tokyo Godfathers is the latest offering from Llangollen's New Dot Cinema, on Friday December 9.

New Dot Cinema’s latest screening is a moving and unusual take on the Christmas theme.

A classic of Japanese anime, Tokyo Godfathers will be screened on the balcony at Llangollen Town Hall on Friday December 9.

It’s Christmas Eve and three homeless people, Gin, a middle-aged alcoholic, Miyuki, a teenage runaway and Hana, a transsexual former drag queen Hana (Yoshiaki Umegaki) have formed a makeshift family on the streets of Tokyo.

While rummaging in dustbins for food they find an abandoned newborn baby.

With only a handful of clues to the baby's identity, the three misfits try to solve the mystery of the abandoned baby and returning her to her parents.

Along the way, encounters with seemingly unrelated events and people force them to confront their own haunted pasts, as they learn to face their future, together.

Seats are £8 and £6 for concessions. Online ticket sales close 10am on the day of the screening. Tickets available from https://www.skiddle.com/whats-on/Llangollen/Llangollen-Town-Hall/New-Dot-Cinema---Tokyo-Godfathers/12872848/]

Doors open at 7.30pm and the show starts at 8pm.

For more information, go to newdotcinema.org.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Financial expert reviews Autumn Statement

A FINANCIAL expert from one of North Wales’ leading accountancy firms says Chancellor Philip Hammond’s first Autumn Statement yesterday is good for families, low earners and businesses.
Anthony Lewis (pictured) is a Director of Chartered Accountants Coxeys who have offices in Wrexham and Saltney and represents a wide range of clients from sole traders right through to international market leaders.
He said: “For families, especially low earners, the increase in the personal tax allowance to £12,500 by the end of this Parliament and raising the higher rate band to £50,000 will be very welcome as will a reduction in the taper rate of universal credit from 65 to 63 per cent for those people who are on benefits but also have a job.
“Another good thing for families is the cancellation of the fuel duty increase for the seventh successive year which will save the average car owner £130 a year. But on the minus side is the increase in insurance premium tax from 10 to 12 per cent by June next year.”
He added: “For businesses the main plus points are the £2 billion extra investment in research and development which will affect quite a number of firms in our area, the extra £400 million in grants which the Welsh Government will be receiving and the rate relief planned for businesses in smaller rural areas.
“A bad thing, in my view, is the removal of the flat rate scheme for VAT which allowed smaller companies to make a calculation based on turnover. In future they will have to revert to the old and more time-consuming method of working out every element of their VAT.”
Looking at how the Autumn Statement will affect the region’s farmers, Mr Lewis said they would benefit from the £1 billion investment in broadband announced by the Chancellor.
“Apart from making it easier for them to communicate generally, this will also help towards the government’s long term goal of having all businesses report quarterly online to HM Revenue and Customs in a couple of years’ time,” he added.
Mr Lewis said students would welcome the abolition of letting fees which have been charged to tenants and also the increase in the Living Wage by around four per cent, from £7.20 to £7.50 in April next year.
For pensioners, Mr Lewis said: “There were no significant changes outlined by the Chancellor. However, the extra money he earmarked for cultural and heritage projects across the UK will be of interest to older people who are regular visitors to these places.
“Of longer term interest to them will be the new three-year savings bond with the possibility of investing up to £3,000 which he promised to give more details about in the next budget."
 

New safer neighbourhoods group has first meeting



* Llangollen Town Hall.

The first meeting of Dee Valley Safer Neighbourhoods Partnership will take place next Tuesday, November 29, at 10am in the Council Chamber of Llangollen Town Hall.

Anyone interested in ensuring Llangollen is a safe place to live and work is welcome to attend.

A member of the Dee Valley policing team said: "It is an opportunity for you to ask questions and have a say in local policing initiatives in your area.

"We have invited representatives from various community safety groups so that by working together in partnership with all agencies we can make the Dee Valley a safer place to live.

"If you would like some further information before the day, cannot attend but would like to be added to the group circulation, or cannot attend but would like some points to be raised on your behalf then please contact myself martin.jones2@nthwales.pnn.police.uk, or ian.parry@uwclub.net"

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wild Pheasant set for re-opening says story


Llangollen's Wild Pheasant Hotel will re-open next month after a major refurbishment, says a story in today's Daily Post.

For the full story, see: http://www.dailypost.co.uk/business/business-news/llangollens-wild-pheasant-hotel-names-12211813

MP backs work of disability charity


* Susan Elan Jones MP in Parliament with Welsh Can Do Coordinator Lisa Gilchrist (right) and Welsh Can Do volunteer Lucy Williams (centre).

Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones has met with staff and volunteers of disability charity Leonard Cheshire in Parliament.

And she has given her support to the expansion of Can Do, a volunteering programme for young disabled people.

More than 6,000 young disabled people have volunteered through the programme since Leonard Cheshire established it in 2008.

It operates UK-wide, including in four locations across Wales - Wrexham,  Cardiff, Newport and Swansea.

Ms Jones, who co-chairs the All Party Parliamentary Group for Charities and Volunteering, said: "We are hugely fortunate in the Clwyd South constituency to have the excellent Dyffryn Ceiriog Cheshire Home in Dolywern.

"I am always keen to do everything I can locally and in Parliament to support the excellent work of disability charity Leonard Cheshire. I am delighted that the charity is expanding its volunteering programme and I wish it well in this new venture."



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Greater electronic access to patients' records in Wales

More hospital doctors and pharmacists now have electronic access to Welsh patients’ GP records, improving patient safety by sharing information.

The change means that from this month the NHS Wales Informatics Service will make a summary of key information from a patient’s GP record available electronically for planned patient care, including during outpatient appointments.

Previously it was only available to pharmacists and doctors in emergency care settings such as A&E.

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said: “This change means that vital information is now available regardless of how a patient comes into our hospitals 24 hours a day, every day of the year improving the ability of health care professionals to provide safer care particularly in patient’s medicines management.”

Dr Charlotte Jones, Chair, General Practitioners Committee, BMA Wales said: “The establishment of the National Intelligent Integrated Audit Solution (NIIAS) and the Health Boards and Trusts’ formal commitment to monitor access to the patient record using this system has provided GPC Wales with full assurance that the extension of access will be safe, secure and will advance the ability to provide safer clinical care to the patient.”

Mr Rhidian Hurle, Consultant Surgeon, Medical Director at NHS Wales Informatics services and Chief Clinical Information Officer for Wales, said: “I am delighted that in partnership with GPC Wales we at NWIS have been able to deliver this new functionality to national clinical software in our hospitals. 

"The extended access to the GP Record makes it easier for health professionals to provide safer care, saving them time in getting the correct information about the patients they are caring for and therefore allowing them more time to focus on the patients needs. It is a win win for patients and professionals alike.”
Strict controls are in place to ensure that patient information is safe and secure. Every time a patient’s record is accessed via the secure database, an auditable log will be made.  

Patients will be asked by the health professional providing their care for permission to look at their record at each and every consultation. In addition, patients can if they wish opt out of the system entirely by speaking to their GP.  

Monday, November 21, 2016

Guide aims to keep children safe online



As part of helping parents know how to keep their children safe online, the NSPCC and O2 have developed a guide, primarily aimed at parents of 8-12 year olds, about the social networks, apps or games with an interactive element that children use most frequently.

The purpose of the guide is to provide parents with the information they need to understand their child's online world and help them keep their children safe on line.

North Wales Police are in full support of the guide. 

Det Inspector Eryl Roberts of the force’ Protecting Vulnerable People Unit said: “With the ever increasing number of Apps, games and other links on line it’s very difficult for parents to keep track on what their children are viewing and whether or not it is suitable and appropriate for their child.

"We're encouraging parents to use the site and explore what other parents and children are saying which will help empower them to make their own decision and ultimately help keep their children safe”

* Net Aware can be found at https://www.net-aware.org.uk/networks/?order=title

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Councils' parking "profits" highlighted



* The Market Street council car park.
Local authorities in Wales made a combined surplus – or ‘profit’ - of £13.8 million on their parking activities in the last financial year. 
The figure for 2015-16 was a 14% increase on the £12.1 million surplus made in 2014-15.

Between them, the 22 councils in Wales had parking income of £35.8 million in 2015-16, a rise of 5.6% on the previous financial year. Income includes on- and off-street parking charges and penalty charges.
However, Denbighshire’s surplus for 2015-16 of £458,000 was down 5% on the previous financial year’s £484,000.

Total expenditure on running parking activities was £22 million, a 0.9% increase on the previous financial year.
The total surplus is the difference between the income and expenditure figures.

The rise in surplus is the third annual increase in a row and a 60% increase on the figure for 2012-13 (£8.6 million).
The data analysed by the RAC Foundation comes from the official returns made in a standardised format to the Welsh Government on an annual basis. 

Looked at individually, 19 of the 22 councils showed surpluses.
The biggest ‘profit’ was made by Cardiff (£3.5 million), followed by Swansea (£2.4 million) and then Gwynedd (£1.4 million).

Three councils reported losses on their parking activities: Flintshire (£423,000), Blaenau Gwent (£310,000) and Torfaen (£81,000).
The most ‘efficient’ council was Monmouthshire where the ratio of income (£1.42 million) to expenditure (£490,000) was 2.9.

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Overall council parking profits in Wales are up sharply again this year, possibly reflecting a recovering economy with people using their cars more.
“It is important that the surplus is ploughed back into transport projects – there are plenty on Welsh motorists’ wish-lists, not least the ongoing campaign to tackle potholes. 

“Some cash could also go towards providing and maintaining off-street car parks, so that they are seen by drivers as a safe and convenient alternative to finding space at the kerbside. 
“While we don’t want our towns and cities dominated by the car, we must remember how dependent many people still are on them. In several areas of Wales – including Blaenau Gwent, Neath Port Talbot and Torfaen – more than 80% of those in employment rely on the car to get to work, some of the highest proportions in Britain.”

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Ambulance service gears up for winter months

THE Welsh Ambulance Service has revealed its action plan to protect patients and improve staff experience during the winter.

The Trust has been busy preparing for the expected seasonal increase in pressures, which impacts services across NHS Wales.

Last year’s winter demand has been analysed and a National Winter Plan has been created, along with seven localised plans for each health board area.

In total 20 new Emergency Medical Technicians, 12 new paramedics and 15 new members of Urgent Care Service crew will start work with the Trust.

An additional five ‘Hear and Treat’ clinicians will also be in place within Clinical Contact Centres from December to provide advice to callers who do not have serious or life threatening conditions.

Other initiatives include the training and deployment of Community First Responders to help non-injured fallers, and the placement of clinicians within police control rooms to triage calls and make sure appropriate resources are sent to the scene of incidents.

Richard Lee, Director of Operations, said: “During the winter we want to make sure that our patients receive the best clinical care possible and that our staff are working in a safe environment, during a period when services right across the NHS come under increased pressure.

“This year we will be entering the New Year with as full an establishment as the service has ever seen in terms of staffing.

“Managers are being freed up to spend more time with staff and patients on ambulances and plans are in place to increase support from St John Ambulance for low acuity calls and some private ambulance services at key points in the winter.”

One of the risks to the plan’s success is handover delays at hospitals, which have been taken into account and preparations put in place to mitigate them.

Richard Lee added: “We are working with the seven local health boards to provide Hospital Ambulance Liaison Officers to help with this and manage ambulances left waiting outside Emergency Departments.

“As part of improved escalation arrangements, local plans are being strengthened by agreeing the use of additional capacity vehicles, which will be used to safely hold patients outside Emergency Departments at times of extreme pressure and allow our ambulance crews to get back on the road.

“We also have in place a new demand management plan which lays out clear actions for control staff when demand exceeds supply.”

During the winter, while the number of 999 calls the Trust receives increases, the amount which are coded as life-threatening generally remains static.

Richard Lee called on members of the public to support the NHS Wales Choose Well campaign and consider other services unless they are facing a genuine emergency.

He said: “We need your help to make sure that we can attend to those in the community who need us most, such as patients experiencing a cardiac arrest or choking.

“Unless you are in need of urgent care, there are a whole host of alternative services available to you such as your GP, Out of Hours, pharmacies, minor injury units or you can call NHS Direct Wales on 0845 46 47 for health advice 24 hours a day.”




Friday, November 18, 2016

MP has her say on bank closure protocol


* Susan Elan Jones MP presents the Corwen banking petition in the House of Commons.

Susan Elan Jones MP has welcomed the inclusion of some key suggestions she made into a nation-wide protocol about bank closures.

Last month she me with Sir Russel Griggs, the man commissioned to produce an independent review and made her detailed recommendations then.

Sir Russell's review 'Access to Banking Protocol - One Year On Review' has just been published and includes the following points suggested by the Clwyd South Labour MP:

-  Regular cash collections from business customers: "Banks consider coming together and offer a generic cash pick up services for businesses across the UK"

- "All banks ensure that their customers are aware of what they can do at the Post Office in terms of their banking transactions"

- Specially trained staff are designated, in particular to work with older customers

Ms Jones MP, who yesterday (Thursday) presented a petition in Parliament on behalf of Corwen residents concerned at the local effect of bank closures, said: "I have been meeting many local businesses and residents and decided to put together some detailed proposals for Sir Russell in my meeting with him.

"I am pleased to see a number of my suggestions are now in the new national protocol. The importance of Sir Russell's review is that it is backed by the British Bankers Association and all the major banks have signed up to it.

"I will now be in contact with all banks which have closed in our area to see how they will be helping our local residents and implementing it. Having closed the banks in the first place, it is only right now that they do more to help local businesses and individuals."


Councillor given reason for balloon festival move



* A balloon over Llangollen in September.
County councillor Stuart Davies says he has heard back from the organisers of the Welsh International Balloon Festival which is moving out of Llangollen and into neighbouring Shropshire. 
Earlier this week the British Ironwork Centre near Oswestry dropped the bombshell news that it would be hosting the popular event, run by Nightingale House Hospice in aid of its funds, next August bank holiday.

Cllr Davies described the move as a “big loss” to Llangollen as the festival had attracted 7,000 people – both to the Pavilion field where it was held and the town centre – in September.  
And he promised to find out the reason for the decision.

On social media yesterday he said: “The lady from Nightingale House has called me to explain. They have been made an offer.
“The Ironwork Centre is going to run the event for them. A win win situation for a very worthy cause.

“I explained that I wished they had talked to me first to see if we could have helped so that the event could have taken place in Llangollen.
“She apologised for the news going out prematurely but it had been beyond their control.

“She said that the event is not going to be called the Welsh International Balloon Festival, that it would not be fair to take the name away from Llangollen.
“I reiterated that if they were thinking of doing another event in the future then please to talk to us first. Part of the conversation was about other things we could do.

“I wish a very worthy cause well and urge us all to continue to support them.” 
He told llanblogger: “I have to look at the bigger picture which means looking at the impact of losing an event which can bring 7,000 people into our town with all the benefits that that brings to local businesses - although there is the downside of the parking situation.

“I am having top level talks with our people to ensure that in the future we are more proactive, corporately, in engaging with big players that can bring business to our town.”

Have your say on empty homes charging plans

Denbighshire County Council is urging residents to have their say on a proposal to charge additional council tax on long-term empty properties and second homes in the county.

The Housing (Wales) Act 2014 gives all councils in Wales the powers to charge the additional council tax and a number of authorities across the country have already implemented the change.
The Welsh Government has introduced these new powers to help Councils encourage homeowners not to unnecessarily leave their properties empty and unoccupied for long periods of time. The powers are also intended to encourage homeowners to bring long term empty and second homes back into use for the benefit of the local community and economy.

Now the council is asking for views on how it should implement these powers from 1 April 2018.

A second home is classed as a dwelling which is not a person’s sole or main home and is substantially furnished. A long – term property is a dwelling which is unoccupied and substantially unfurnished for a continuous period of at least one year.

Councillor Julian Thompson-Hill, Cabinet Lead Member for Finance, said: “The Welsh Government has introduced these new powers to help Councils encourage homeowners not to unnecessarily leave their properties empty and unoccupied for long periods of time.

“The powers are also intended to encourage homeowners to bring long term empty and second homes back into use for the benefit of the local community and economy. Developing the local economy and creating vibrant communities is a key priority for the Council and this initiative will assist to realise this ambition.

“We are encouraging people interested in this matter to share their views."

You can have your say by completing a short online survey on www.denbighshire.gov.uk/consultations or by sending  an email to:  Itesh.consultation@denbighshire.gov.uk
Alternatively, people can write to the Council at: Contracts & Performance, Finance Department, Denbighshire County Council, PO Box 62, Ruthin, LL15 9AZ or phone 01824 706006
The consultation runs until December 14th and the findings will be reported to a meeting of the Full Council in early 2017.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

AM hails older people as "everyday heroes"

North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has described older people in Wales as “everyday heroes” and urged the Welsh Government to introduce an Older People’s Rights Bill to extend and promote their rights.

During the Welsh Conservative Debate on Older People in the Assembly chamber, Mr Isherwood (pictured) emphasised the "huge contribution" older people make, through work, activism, volunteering and community work, caring for families and providing childcare, but said that despite this they are often overlooked by society.

He said: “They deserve dignity and respect, independence and the freedom to make decisions about their own lives.

“As Age Cymru states, negative attitudes towards older people and ageing are pervasive in our society, based on inaccurate stereotypes, and assumptions about a person’s ability and competence due to their age.

“They add that the Welsh Government should further explore what role the introduction of a Bill of Rights for Older People could play.

“I therefore commend the call in our Motion for the introduction of an Older People's Rights Bill, to extend and promote the rights of older people – and for a duty on public sector bodies to consult older people when making decisions which affect their live."

He added: Our 2016 Manifesto stated a Welsh Conservative Government would implement a £400 weekly cap on residential care, and protect £100,000 of assets for those in residential care. The Welsh Government’s failure to do the same is regrettable.” 

AM hails older people as "everyday heroes"

North Wales Assembly Member Mark Isherwood has described older people in Wales as “everyday heroes” and urged the Welsh Government to introduce an Older People’s Rights Bill to extend and promote their rights.

During the Welsh Conservative Debate on Older People in he Assembly chamber, Mr Isherwood (pictured) emphasised the "huge contribution" older people make, through work, activism, volunteering and community work, caring for families and providing childcare, but said that despite this they are often overlooked by society.

He said: “They deserve dignity and respect, independence and the freedom to make decisions about their own lives.

“As Age Cymru states, negative attitudes towards older people and ageing are pervasive in our society, based on inaccurate stereotypes, and assumptions about a person’s ability and competence due to their age.

“They add that the Welsh Government should further explore what role the introduction of a Bill of Rights for Older People could play.

“I therefore commend the call in our Motion for the introduction of an Older People's Rights Bill, to extend and promote the rights of older people – and for a duty on public sector bodies to consult older people when making decisions which affect their live."

He added: Our 2016 Manifesto stated a Welsh Conservative Government would implement a £400 weekly cap on residential care, and protect £100,000 of assets for those in residential care. The Welsh Government’s failure to do the same is regrettable.” 

Christmas quiz in aid of disabled children


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Councillor wants answers over balloon festival `switch'


* A balloon in flight over Llangollen at this year's festival.
A Llangollen county councillor says he aims to find out exactly why the town appears to have lost one of its biggest crowd-pulling events.
The Border Counties Advertizer is reporting today that the Wales International Balloon Festival, which has been held on Llangollen Pavilion field since 1997, will be staged instead at the British Ironwork Centre in Oswestry over the bank holiday weekend next August.

Although bosses at the Ironworks told the newspaper they are “excited” about the move there is no indication in the story about why the switch is being made.
Cllr Stuart Davies said: “If this is the case it is certainly a big loss to Llangollen, especially after getting the event back this September after it had been away from the town for a few years.

“I’ve heard an estimate that there were 7,000 people on the field over the weekend and that people were also spending money in the town.”
He added: “I intend to speak to the organisers to check this out and to find out what has caused them to move elsewhere.

“It’s seems ironic that an event called the Wales International Balloon Festival is now apparently going to be held in England.”  
The Advertizer story says that the festival will take place on the weekend of August 26 and 27 and will be held in collaboration with Lindstrands.

Per Lindstrand first appeared on the international ballooning scene in 1978 and then went on to create Lindstrand Technologies Ltd based in Oswestry.
He is well-known for his record-breaking hot air balloon flights and for his attempts to be the first to fly a Rozière balloon around the earth with Sir Richard Branson.

Sophia Knowles, the operations director at the British Ironwork Centre, is quoted in the story as saying: “Shropshire is such a beautiful, scenic county, it really is a wonderful area to embark on a balloon flight.
“We are very excited about this event.”

The event will raise funds for Nightingale House Hospice, in Wrexham which provides specialist palliative care service for patients with life-limiting illness across Shropshire and beyond.
* See the full Advertizer story at: http://bordercountiesadvertizer.co.uk/news/169119/british-ironwork-centre-to-host-popular-wales-international-balloon-festival-in-2017.aspx